AN estimated 50 per cent of sexual assaults worldwide occur to girls aged below 15 years, a 2003 United Nations for Population Fund report reveals.
The worrying statistics continue to subject minors to the risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV/Aids. And sexual offences implementation task force commissioner Millie Odongo is calling for public awareness to the 2006 Sexual Offences Act to enhance its effectiveness in addressing the problem locally.
She said lack of awareness by the public is slowing down the implementation of the Act, which criminalises sexual offences. "There is need for testing of any law for us to ascertain how effective it is," said Odongo and pushed for the making of gender-based violence a national disaster. She was speaking yesterday in Nairobi at a two-day regional workshop convened to strengthen GBV response and services across sub-Saharan Africa.
A 2008/9 Kenya Demographic Health Survey indicates that 45 per cent of women aged 15-49 have experienced either physical or sexual violence. The report further reveals that 25 per cent of the cases include women who have experienced physical violence alone, another seven percent sexual violence, while 14 percent have bore the brunt of both physical and sexual violence.
While appealing for the protection of people in violent relations against HIV/Aids, Millie called for concerted efforts from the police and sexual workers, saying the move will help curb the vice. She singled out the evidence obtained from the police records as an opportunity and response which he said were crucial interventions towards cross learning. "GBV resulting in rape could lead to increased transmission of HIV from the perpetrators to the victims. This subjects them [victims] to risks," Millie said.
A 2003 World Health Organization study established that between 15 and 71 percent of women report physical or sexual violence by either their husbands or partners, with a worrying four to 12 percent being physically abused during pregnancy. Millie condemned war and general political instability, as well as remote cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, saying they are retrogressive towards the fight against GBV, and that they continue to put people's lives at risk. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the effects of FGM.